I’ve been back in Northern California for about two weeks. Every time I go out in the neighborhood I find myself scanning the environment for people I don’t want to run into. Particularly people I used to work with. I keep thinking I’m seeing the back of my old boss everywhere. So yesterday it finally happened. I ran into her. How does that happen in a city as big as San Francisco, in the middle of the work day, at a sporting goods store? The divine has reasons I cannot know. I felt awkward. She was so happy to see me and I felt like I’d been caught. I was stumbling over words, she was beaming and complimentary. This dynamic isn’t new. I often felt that way around her. She’s kind, funny and smart. She’s the medical director for a large complex clinic housing one of the top academic primary care residency programs in the country. The place where I worked for the last three and a half years. I never stopped having a little feeling of awkwardness around her. Like I couldn’t get the right words out fast enough. I imagine that people as brilliant as she is experience people like me being awkward all the time and experience it as the norm. There I am, putting myself down. I imagine she hired me on a gut feeling. She felt like we were already friends and she could trust me. Of course I had the credentials, experience, and seemingly calm confidence that at that time were a perfect fit.
So, we’re reconnected. My presence in San Francisco is known. It’s been nearly three months of no work related texts, and in less than 24 hours I am back in texting contact with three managers about issues at *work*. Even as I write this sitting at a cafe less than a mile from clinic I am tempted to go in and help out. I am holding back. I did agree to meet one dear friend and former colleague for lunch on Friday. After lunch I will walk back in with her to say hellos and hug anyone who wants one.
How do I navigate this space of being home and not at the hospital/*work*? Why have I been avoiding people (who love and miss me!)?
All of these questions have been coming up about vulnerability and being seen. I want to write this book, and realize that in todays’ world I need to have a blog and followers to prove to a publisher that there is an audience. So I figured I’d start blogging about day to day stuff and thoughts and put up old pieces to get feedback on, and then it hit me. The same thing that has prevented me from writing for years is big and present. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to upset anyone’s privacy, I don’t want to get hurt, and I don’t want anyone to hurt me. By being honest and visible I am vulnerable.
DISCLAIMER: I am writing for ME! It may spark something in you.
REQUEST: Please pause before writing a comment here publicly. Ask yourself about your relationship with me. Is this comment something that might be better received privately? If you’re not sure how to answer that question, the answer is yes.
MY PROMISE: I promise to be careful about your feelings when writing the parts of my story that include YOU. I may even contact you for permission before using your name or referencing you. If you see a reference to you here that I did not contact you about, please know that to me it’s a positive reference that I sensed you’d be cool with. If you experience a reference you don’t feel comfortable with, please contact me privately so we can chat about it. I’m here to learn how to be a better me, and this is part of it.
…on a lighter note…I bought a new skin tight faux leather dress and I am seeking an occasion to wear it.